Five Strange Features of this Trade War

– July 9, 2018

It’s worth reflecting on all the ways in which this trade war seems to depart from the historical pattern. They suggest something important: this trade war is born not of strategy but of ideology.


Reform Army Corps to Cut Red Tape, Boost Outcomes

– July 8, 2018

Ending military involvement in civilian navigation and public-waters regulation is one important step in any systematic reform to the scope of the federal government.


Trade Retaliation Is Unjustified and Unjust

– July 2, 2018

These foreign-government interventions supply no good ethical excuse for “retaliation.” In fact, losing nothing to which they are entitled, home-country producers themselves act unethically when they demand that the home government inflict upon fellow citizens the same unjust depravations that foreign governments inflict upon their citizens.


Trade Wars and Inflation

– June 28, 2018

Trump’s trade war is heating up. What should central banks do to ensure their economies aren’t damaged too much?


Harley’s Grim History of Government Bailouts

– June 27, 2018

After all these efforts, all these interventions and tax-back loans, nothing could prepare the company to deal with a loss of its foreign markets. This is why the company said this week that it would move some production overseas due to increased costs from the EU’s retaliatory tariffs against the Trump administration’s taxes on imports of steel and aluminum.


Tariff Wars and the Fallacy of the Balance of Trade

– June 25, 2018

The hoopla and hysteria about balance of trade deficits, and that somehow “others” are taking advantage of us because we buy more from them than they buy from us, in fact, is the result of an analytical myopia of failing to “follow the money” through all the different forms and channels that import and export spending can take, both for an individual or the country as a whole. Once you do, you realize that the balance of trade “problem” is all an illusion.


A Different Sort of Central Planning

– June 23, 2018

Economic nationalism, characterized by restriction on trade and migration toward the goal of political control, has a different sales pitch and cultural feel from the central planning of generations past. But it is no less an attack on free enterprise, industrial rivalry, and consumer control of production. Ultimately it is just another way to undermine property rights, freedom, and the limits on the power of the state.


Adam Smith, Born Today in 1723, Does Not Approve

– June 16, 2018

It’s the 295th birthday of Adam Smith, champion of trade and the philosophical mastermind who explained the end of the old world and the beginning of the new. And yet, on this day, after so many centuries of intellectual work to promote free trade, a trade war is upon us.


A Completely Unnecessary Trade War

– June 4, 2018

We’ve got a genuine problem, a new crop of world leaders who are willing to sacrifice economic rationality, international cooperation, and world peace to feed their nationalistic political ambitions via the brute force of protectionism. Trump is leading the way.


The Strangest Twist Yet on Trade with China

– May 15, 2018

The company ZTE (Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment) in Shanghai had employed as many 75,000, and does business in 160 nations, while relying heavily on importing American component parts and manufacturing cellphones and other digital equipment. The US Commerce Department came down hard on the company for dealings with North Korea and Iran. It fined the company $1.2 billion and banned American exports to the company for fully seven years. It was all part of the “get tough” policy that Trump has been promoting his entire career.


Monetary Policy and Trade Wars

– April 10, 2018

A trade war would not only make the United States less productive. It would also make monetary policy more difficult.


Two Trade Wars: 1807 and 2018

– April 8, 2018

The legal uncertainties surrounding trade with China have sent people looking for historical precedent for this mess. One jumps out: the targeted trade embargo that the US imposed against Britain in 1807. Let’s look at the parallels and lessons.